Having postponed it from one Friday to the next, today I finally left the house in time to join the Grand Central Tour. When I looked into my Time Out magazine on the train I didn’t find it though. From the website I knew that it would take place every Friday. But I needed the meeting point. After arriving at Grand Central my smart phone committed to help me find it: in the sculpture court at the southwest corner of Park Avenue and 42nd Street. I don’t know why the sculpture court is called sculpture court. There are no sculptures in there but I found a group and a man asked me if I came for the tour. So I had found it. The room was filling. It would be a large group. They formed two groups then. Our guide was Marty and he was great.
He told us that in 1840 42nd Street had been farmland. I should have known that from the Rutherfurd book probably but it is so hard to believe. Then Vanderbilt bought all the railroads after having bought all shipping companies. Now a station was needed. That was the beginning of Grand Central. New York was moving uptown.
I as well had not known that in the 1990s there was a great and extremely expensive renovation that gave the station its current glamour. It had been completely run down. The blue ceiling showing a starry sky had been black then and Vanderbilt Hall, the former waiting area, had become a shelter for the homeless.
We looked at the starry sky that is painted the other way round – by accident – and has a hole. The hole is due to a rocket that had been set up in the Main Concourse when America feared the Russians during the cold war. Marty told us about the Whispering Gallery down in the Dining Concourse, where a conversation can be Held from one corner to the opposite one, transported by the ceiling. Some People tried it out. It worked, they said.
We went into the Chanine Building and into the Chrysler. The latter one is still my favorite. Finally we walked around Grand Central up Park Avenue. Marty told a lot of stories and was able to answer every question. Did anybody know that there is a tennis court above Grand Central Terminal?
I walked up Lexington afterwards to look for booties at Bloomingdales and around it. In vain though. Again all that I would have liked were too narrow for my feet. I bought a green cardigan instead.
Park Avenue took me down to 42nd Street again where I revisited the Chrysler Building and Grand Central without the group. Did I ever say I don’t like Midtown?
When I got home I felt wretched. Unable to even go out for dinner I got me something from the Chinese takeout at the corner. Didn’t taste like anything. Finally I followed Rachael’s advice and had my first bath after 3 months. Her bathtub is not very deep though. Nevertheless it felt good to lie in hot water.
A new guest arrived for the other room. Rachael introduced her as Lisa Nicole. I am a bit puzzled. She is styled and dressed like a woman but her body absolutely looks like a man’s. Her voice is deep. But ok, this is New York City.